I Hope To Interest Science

I hope to be of interest to science. Not in the path lab specimen jar sort of way, but as an interesting study in psychology. The problem that I have right now is deciding whether I wish to be a shining example or a horrible result.

Good has its attractions. You spend less time in court or on the gallows and history is kind to you. Of course, if you are skilled at doctoring history in the first place you can pretty much please yourself what you do in your spare time.

Evil is a difficult thing to present to others – they always seem so judgemental when you are a mass murderer or sell fat-free grills on the Shopping Channel. The old excuse of being mis-understood has largely gone by the board…when you explain yourself it all sounds so much worse. Best to just destroy civilisation and keep silent about it.

Science has gotten a bad rap lately with the anti-vaccination zealots and the electronic virus conspirators. Even proving mathematical formulae can lead to you being stoned in the marketplace. Don’t mention the sun or the planets…

But I still hope to be given my own place in the species charts when they re-do the scientific classification of the world. I cannot say whether it would be better to be an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral, but whichever I end up being I hope to have a cool-sounding scientific name. One that people can spell correctly.

Re Tales – Part Eight – Essential Or Luxury?

Which to sell – essential goods or luxury ones?

Aye, there’s the rub – and it’s either with a velvet glove or a bastard file. You choose which division of commerce you think will be likeliest to pay and go with that. If you are right you  rake in the cash and if you are wrong you rake leaves in the park.

Essential items are food, water, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and security. Thus we see sellers of prepackaged truffles, designer water, silk underwear, bespoke serviced appartments, day facelift spas, and bouncers doing very well indeed.

Luxury items are every blessed thing else. And not every venture selling these succeeds. However, when they do take off – the camera shop or the hobby shop come to mind – the sky is the limit. People will stint themselves of luxuries to buy essentials but that is called skimping and saving pennies – when it is the other way it works with hundreds and thousand of dollars. The trick of retailing is to be where the money ends up – not where it starts.

Re Tales – Part Seven – The Sale

Every shop has a sale some time. Not the regular sales over the counter of everyday commerce – a SALE that involves vast quantities – of many different things:

a. Time. Even a small impromptu sale that the owner thinks up the last minute before going on holiday involves days and hours of preparation, conduct, and accounting. Fortunately they are on holiday and have left their phone at home. The staff will cope…

b. Advertising. No good trying to get more customers in the door if they do not know where the door is or why they might want to come in. So the retailer spends money with the newspapers, phone book company, on-line IT experts ( the ones that are out of the asylum that week ) and leaflet distributors. The richer retailers use radio and television to blow the trumpet – the more frugal ones just buy trumpets and blow them themselves. 3:00 AM in the car park of the shopping centre is a trying time…

c. Preparation. Re-tagging all the sale stock is a pain. Particularly if you need to re-re-tag it after it hasn’t sold. And you need to be accurate in your pricing. ” Whatever ” is not a price tag that will make a profit for the shop.

Beware of customers who shift full-price stock into the sales bins and then magically ” find ” it and rush to the till. They will then demand to have it for an imaginary price, quoting God and Magna Carta as justification. It is best to have a short club handy.

d. Staff. No-one can stand sales pressure on their own so the wise manager will arrange for extra staff to be present. They may be rostered in on a schedule or just thrown in willy-nilly as the fatalities occur. Warn them that normal meal, break and toilet amenities are suspended for the sale period – if necessary quote Magna Carta. With a bit of luck this regime will seem natural and can be extended to the rest of the year.

e. Old unsalable stock. This is the core of the sale – after all, if it all went out regularly, there would be no need for all the other extra work. Old unsalable stock may be perfectly good, but so far no-one outside of the store’s buyer and the wholesaler have ever thought so. Now is the time to convince others by lowering the price.

Make no mistake about it. People will spend money and buy anything if they think it is a screaming bargain. Discount death and give vouchers for subsequent deaths and people will line up to pay. This is the principle of a great many school holiday motion picture series.

If you have no junk to sell, contact the wholesalers and ask them to take you out to a long lunch and get you drunk. You’ll eventually wake up with loose clothing and a warehouse full of broken cartons of stock from 2003.

f. Accountancy. No matter what you get for the schmatta, you’ll still have to do the paperwork to write it off. A successful sale pays for the accountant’s time – really successful ones are where you trade old stock to the accountant instead of a fee.

Re Tales – Part Five – ” We Want You To …”

a. Sponsor our club.

We want you to give us things for free. If you do we’ll say we like you and might buy things from you. If you don’t we won’t like you and  might still buy things from you – but we’ll complain about the prices.

Actually, we’ll do that even if you do sponsor us.

b. Buy our product.

Every shop needs what we have to sell. That is why we go to every shop and try to sell it to them. We’ve already been to see all your competitors and filled their shelves, but we still have some broken boxes of stock to get rid of before we close the warehouse.

Ah, did I say close? I meant move to bigger premises. Where? Somewhere…anywhere…

Of course the goods are good sellers. We managed to sell them to everyone else already. Why should you be suspicious?

c. Subscribe to our service.

Our service provides you with a plan. This will explain the program and the opportunity to become part of a concept. You get in on the ground floor. Everyone is doing it, and we will all be rich. All you need is faith and the ability to enjoy the wonderful benefits of the planned concept program. I own a BMW and I take vacations to exotic places every year, so it must be all okay.

Well, not exactly this year…unless you regard Bunbury as exotic. It can be exotic, if you go while the pubs are still open.

d. Join our movement.

Did I say movement? I meant Party. No. I meant Crusade. Oops. No – no, I didn’t. Our collective. Still not right? Church? Temple? Mosque? Schul?

Anything? Nothing? Can I sell you some cookies to support our good works? I’m tired of eating them myself.

You’re Entitled To Your Opinion

At least here you are. We live in a free country that will let you think what you like. You can also say what you like…but with a few restrictions to prevent harm to others. By and large it is a good system and altogether a good country.

But note: the freedom you exercise to think and speak is also granted to everyone else. And it goes further – we have a great deal of freedom to listen to what you say, to commit it to memory, and to think about it.

We are allowed to agree or disagree with you… and within certain limits to let you know that we do. And you, more or less, have to put up with either decision.

Which conflicts with the attitude and pronouncements of some people in the chattering classes. They form groups, collectives, and cabals that try to silence any dissent or disagreement. As these can be found in schools, universities, cultural institutions, and businesses, it can destroy the very freedom of speech that they cry for.

The humorous part of this – if hypocrisy is humour – is that they will insist that they be allowed public display and disruption to push their barrow.

Is there an answer to it all? Well, you’re reading it. the weblog column. The internet posting. It can be read by all – it can be criticised by all – it can be ignored by all. It hardly ever garners a legal protest or challenge and mostly just hangs around in electronic space to embarrass or discredit decades later.

Another answer would be a Speaker’s Corner in a central public park that could be open to all for untrammelled oratory. Of course that would mean that the speakers and listeners would have to abide by rules of conduct. We may be too far down the road to either political correctness or political chaos for that. Plus it would need two cops to oversee the venue.

 

 

 

Re Tales – Part Three – ” I Saw It On A Website. “

In the good old days ( Elvis, dinosaurs) the potential customer would have come in and said ” I saw it in the newspaper. ” or ” I saw it in a magazine. “. Occasionally the special ones fronted the counter and said ” I saw it written in letters of fire in the sky. “. It paid to not doubt them.

Now it is  ” I saw it on the internet. ” What they saw may have been an announcement of a new product or the discontinuation of an old one. Or a recall of exploding bed socks. Whatever, they’ve come into the shop with knowledge of something. The knowledge is valuable to them and it might be so for the shop assistant as well.

If the thing they saw was on the website of the shop where they are, the shop assistant can pray silently that the website had the correct price, image, and stock level for the goods. And that the thing that was shown is still somewhere on the premises.  Even if it is holding the loo door open, at least it exists. Unfortunately there is a gap between what the best IT department can show and what can be plonked on the counter.

If the thing they saw was on another shop’s site all hell could break loose – particularly if the ” shop ” is some vague web address in Kowloon. The customer has taken the internet information as the word of God and any attempt on the part of the shop assistant to explain that it is unrealistic here in Australia will fall on deaf ears.

Unfortunately deaf ears are sometimes attached to loud mouths and angry tempers. These are fine, as long as they can be confined within the head of the customer. Like road rage, let someone else experience it.

No shop assistant is required by any law – of God, the land, economics, or thermodynamics – to match any price that is waved at them from a mobile phone screen. That may or may not be a real offer from a real seller, but it is not a seller who is paying rent on the premises, wages to the staff, or buying paper for the shop loo. The shop price should be fair and calculated to give adequate return to the proprietor for the effort of business – it is most often just that, and any attempt to oyster-knife discounts based on a badly-spelled website can best be referred back to Kowloon.

Or Wuhan.

” I’m Just A Sex Object To You…”

No, Dear, you’re not. Not any more. Not for a long time. Not since you found Facebook.

I fully admit that I did think of you as a sex object – and treasured the sight, sound, and smell of you upon that basis. I longed to add feel to the list… but that was before I was presented with your posts on the electronic screen – in between the phishing memes and the advertisements for perfumed stump pullers. Once I could contemplate your thoughts and explore the workings of your mind, I changed my regard for you.

Now I do not look upon you you as a sex object. I regard you as a floating object.

You float between whichever political pressure group has most traction at the time. Between who has grabbed the national television coverage for the last five minutes and who will grab it for the next. Your thoughts are precious – as much for their virtue as for their rarity. And I long for the day when you will feel successful and triumphant – and will feel no more need to complain.

Like nirvana, armageddon, or the end of the works on the Mitchell Freeway, I never really expect to see this state of affairs blossom. But I need something to pray for.

 

Your Emotional Laundry Is Ready For Collection

As a child in Canada I got used to the houses we lived in having a clothes drier. Not all of them did, but you could see why it was a pretty essential part of life if you didn’t have a basement with a furnace in it – you can’t hang wet laundry out on a Hills Hoist at -4º.

I loved the driers that were in the kitchens because I could play in there and get blasted by the warm air coming through the system. As the rest of the house might be heated by a furnace that sucked all the moisture out of the air, the laundry vapour was actually soothing.

These days we use the house clothes drier to supplement what can mostly be done on the line out back. Western Australia has more good drying days than not and I always figure I’m getting good value for no money by taking advantage of them. I wish I could say the same for that other staple of modern life: Facebook.

I appreciate the fact that sometimes people need to vent on Facebook. You open the page and there is a full rant about someone’s emotional grievances – whether you read it or not, at least the posting of it might have done them some good. But it gets a bit fraught when people are doing personal laundry 24/7 and running the loads through every day. You can only take so much warm, wet air with vague odours before you become  tired of it. Then you find yourself switching off or switching over. You start granting the laundry worker repeated 30-day vacations. And sometimes you just stop taking the service.

After all, you have your own wrinkles to iron out without having to scrub someone else’s life as well.

Special BGA Spring Sale! Don’t Miss Out!

The Guild is feeling like Spring! And we’re feeling like it early!

Okay, we normally spring on the unwary, but this is different. The Backstabbers Guild of Australia has been doing some Spring Cleaning ( even though it is winter in Australia) and we realised that we have an excess – a surplus, if you will – actually gobs of, heaps of, information about people. We propose to make this available to anyone who wants to target a group of suckers.

The information has come to us through our affiliation with Facebook. We have been sending out a series of physhing posts disguised as quizzes and harmless games and the response has been gratifying. People will tell you the most intimate details of their lives as long as they think you will reward them with praise. Or even interest.

We’ve got three divisions of goods for sale; political biases, sexual proclivities, and financial gullibility. You can purchase profiles of Australian citizens who would normally shrink with shame or at least bristle up defensively. And you can be sure that the sensitive data is 101% authentic – the poor boobs have advertised it themselves. No more paying for market surveys or private snoopers. These marks have marked themselves.

And they’ve done so under the sternest warnings from the police, the federal government, and the Guild itself. They just cannot help themselves – like bogans when a doughnut shop opens. Or lemmings when a cliff looms. Over they go.

The price for information on the public can be very economical. A few cents apiece if you buy in bulk. You may not be able to get into their bank accounts with the results of a ” Which flower are you? ” meme but you’ll know that they are susceptible to fatuous enquiry and with a little careful stalking you’ll eventually be able to ask ” Which account has the most money in it? ” and it won’t seem intrusive.

Trust us with this…

 

Adjusting The Lens

You can see clearly, in most lights, by simply paying attention to how you adjust your lens. This also applies to projecting your image or opinion on others – focus carefully upon what you wish them to see before you switch on your lamp.

You may live a life of luxurious misery or one of desperate happiness. Or board at any house in between. It is generally your choice how happy you are with where you are.

Please don’t imagine I’m trying to make you contented with being exploited or demeaned.  Cry to heaven for surcease if this is the case, or start slitting throats if you decide you can’t wait – it’s all up to you. You are the captain of your soul and the commander of your destiny. Mind you, so was Captain Smith of the TITANIC, and didn’t that work out well…

But look carefully at how happy you are as compared to how happy you expect to be. If you are not in deficit, take some time to count the blessings. You need not prepare an Excel spreadsheet nor account to any government department for most things that make you genuinely happy. You may be surprised at the quantity and variety overlooked in daily life.

Be careful that you do not feel compelled to be as happy as someone else – you can’t see all their soul’s secrets and cannot know, in many instances, whether they are really happy or sad. Leave that to them.

Be especially careful not respond when someone tells you how happy you need to be. This is generally a softening-up procedure for an advertiser. They are eventually going to try to sell you something or force you to do something. You’ll be supplying money, sex, work, or obedience to them under the guise of making you happy. In any affair like this go in with your eyes wide open, or at least squinted slightly into the eyepiece of a gun sight. Beware of recoil.